“Religion means true living. It does not mean running away from the world. It is not a set of rules. It means believing in God and loving His people. Mere words do not make religion, it is good actions that matter. A family man stands a better chance of doing good actions, because he lives among God’s people. He works hard, earns his living and shares his earnings with the needy. It is thus that Baba Nanak tells us to earn God’s grace by living in a family and not by going away alone into the jungle.” – Guru Ram Das
The Sikh religion was built upon the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and nine successive Gurus. Giving it the term religion, we are trying to narrow the true spirit – it is a way of life, a spiritual way of living.
Guru Nanak laid down the essential things that one has to follow in order to lead a good life, a spiritual and contended life :
- Nam Japa – to get up each day before sunrise, to clean the body, meditate on God’s Name and recite the Guru’s words to clean the mind. Throughout the day, continuously remember God’s name with every breath.
- Dharam di Kirat Karni – to work and earn by the sweat of the brow, to live a familiy way of life, and practice truthfulness and honesty in all dealings.
- Vand ke Chakna – to share the fruits of one’s labor with others before considering oneself. Thus, to live as an inspiration and a support to the entire community. Can be seen through the Langar where free meals are provided not only to the Sikhs but for people of other faiths as well as Sikhs consider all humans to be equal irrespective of the faith they follow.
On disagreeing with the false norms of denouncing family and going to the jungles or mountains in search of God, Guru Ram Das said :
“Men put on many strange clothes and wander far away in search of God. But they forget to make their hearts clean. They shall neither find God, nor any happiness after death. O Man, be a saint in your own home and follow the Guru’s way; Practise truth, love and good works. This way alone You will know truth and be granted God’s grace.
It is clear that Sikhism lays emphasis on leading a worldly and successful life as a householder and becoming an active contributor to the society while constantly ensuring the thought of God in the mind. Sikhism is unique in the fact that it does not have a caste system within the religion. It denounces all forms of discrimination. It is for this reason that the last name of all men are to be Singh and that of women, Kaur.
The core values of Sikhism are derived from :
- An honest living and an honest day’s work
- Sharing with others what God and life has given
- Living life fully with an awareness of the divine within each of us
Sikhism recognises all other religions. This can be seen in the very living Guru – the Guru Granth Sahib which includes hymns from various other faiths.
Dr. IJ Singh on “Sikhs and their Religion” says –
“Sikhism believes in the underlying and universal truth and not the code of conduct of the faiths. Sikhism asks a non-Sikh to discover and live the essential message and meaning of his or her own religion so that a Christian can become a better Christian, Hindu a better Hindu, Sikh a better Sikh.”